Posted at 10.03.2018
Indeed, much books is focused on question the (mis)appropriateness of 'Islamophobia' as a labeller of 'phobia' generated, presumably, from an extremely 'obvious' occurrence of Islam / Muslims in the U. K. lately. 1, 2, 3 The case for / against Islamophobia, depending on which party holds discussion, is, in reality, made blurry given the ambiguity of what takes its Muslim identity to begin with. 4 Considering probably multiple identities of U. K. Muslims 5, 6, contestation between and within worried parties keeps a fluid earth more so predicated on or as a result of fluidity of what makes up 'Islamophobia'. This newspaper examines multilayered manipulations of Islamophobia as contested in a U. K context. The argument, first, discusses books on race relations and immigration guidelines, more emphasis being laid on procedures regarding Commonwealth subject matter in Indian Subcontinent. An assessment follows of how race-based (addressing ethnicity, assimilation and multiculturalism issues) as opposed to faith-based (addressing spiritual practices, protection under the law, and interfaith relations) protections have much inspired and/or mixed up contestations over Islam, Muslims and, most importantly, Islamophobia, if any, within a U. K. context. Finally, Islamophobia is put in a wider European context in which contestation over Islamophobia therefore is connected to Continental debates on modern nation-states and multiculturalisms.
Historically, Britain has received waves of immigrants of diverse descent for a variety of reasons. Yet, post-World Conflict II period, particularly during mid-1940's, 1950's and 1960's, observed unprecedented influx into major commercial places for reconstruction work. 7, 8 Until late 1960's, no specific laws and regulations addressed inter-ethnic violence and turmoil. Ironically, ex-colonies content were regarded, in the end, as second class citizens. 9 Only when groups of 'Asian' (principally Pakistani, Indian and Bangladeshi) works started to 'flood' English cities and plug-ins in what's known as 'string immigration' (i. e. residents invite close family members and friends and, once resolved, relatives and friends invite their own families and friends) have local works of ethnic violence give prominence to and raise open public awareness over a national level of 'alien' citizen status within British reality. 10
Still, post-World War II period is one characterised more by inflammatory assertions made about nationals of 'non-British' bloodstream and descent 11 somewhat than about residents whose allegiance to 'United kingdom' worth and way of life is questionable due to a different creed such as in case of South-Asians. Indicative of an increasingly racialised public discourse pertaining to immigrants and 'naturalised' subject matter is:
When individuals like the Marquis of Salisbury spoke of preserving the English life-style, they were not only referring to financial or regional folk habits, but explicitly to the preservation of 'the racial persona of the British people'. We've developing here a process of subjectification grounded in a racialised construction of the 'English' Subject which excludes and includes people on the basis of 'competition'/skin coloring. 12
Indeed, 'competition' remains a fundamental subtext of British hegemonic discourse during colonial time, in post-World War II period and beyond. For one, one staple justification for subjugation of countries, groups and individuals is race. 13 Further, in case of a South Asian minority, presumably 'British Subjects', contest is invoked as a justification for inequalities at work place, housing, education, let alone political privileges. 14
In fact, 'race' and 'racism' essentialise things of 'racist' functions. Similar to all hegemonic tactics which maintain specific ability relations within an overarching power structure, racism emphasises superior vs. Poor duality to be able not only to maintain existing power relationships but also to 'morally' justify 'excesses' of inequalities. 15
In British context, South Asian employees - mostly from Pakistan, India and Bangladesh - specifically during first mass immigration waves of 1940's, 1950's and 1960's were, just like a gear fit into a larger steering wheel, brought in as props, imported, used, and went back. Originally, South Asians staff performed and acted as underdogs - much to experts' joy. Later, however, as familiarity of British 'System' and 'Supervision' developed between workers of non-British blood, riots and protests became noise (racist) masters needed to work on. Thus, successive legislations 'regulating' immigrants' status within U. K. borders were, apparently, designed to control influx of immigrants and align 'English Subjects' along well-defined ethnic restrictions. 16 As U. K. 's cultural makeup diversified over time and across localities, state's insistence on ethnic markers between and within cultural organizations grew by leaps and bounds.
The 'racism' method, endorsed by laws and regulations and working brilliantly in a colonial time and marginally so within edges during start of mass immigration, turned out difficult if not unstabilising given growing stresses of growing minorities in pocket metropolitan areas, minorities now capable of tipping vote balance.
Ultimately, a multi-ethnic / multicultural culture is not - based on a goodwill, all-accommodating multiculturalism discourse - one meant to acknowledge ethnic / racial / social differences per se via minority rights but, somewhat, one emphasizing cultural markers for even more point out control. 17 Actually, express control, in so far as British Muslims are concerned, represents a specific occasion not only of ethnicity manipulated (at multiple layers of discourse in federal government, press, and education) but, further still, associated with an personality (i. e. 'BrMislim' / 'BrAsian') manipulated (at just same layers) - and hence fluidity of what constitutes 'Islam' / 'Muslim' and, probably in turn, Islamophobia. Understanding an appearing Islamophobia requires, however, an examination of evolution of contest relations politics in one predicated on 'contest' to 1 based on 'faith'.
By definition, politics discourse is one characterised by manipulation which is, largely, subject to voters' sway in democracies. 18 Politics Correctness (PC) is just one example of politics machination. In essence, a politically appropriate appearance is a euphemism meant (and, for example, indicating) less to fulfil felicity conditions necessary for an actionable declaration and even more as instrumental. Thus, British isles policies on contest and ethnicity has designated a shift since installing race relations acts of 1965 and 1968 19 from an emphasis on racial discrimination for an emphasis on spiritual 'extremism' and 'bigotry' as a basis for incrimination - only selectively, excluding BrMuslims.
Indeed, incitement to hatred based on affiliation to Islam is one major legal anomaly scholars continue to point out to. 19, 20 Interestedly, given paper's purposes, racial discrimination against BrAsians hasn't, in fact, been removed by virtue of improvement in legislation on racial relations but only diverted to some other (unprotected by law) aspect, significant as is, of the BrAsian subject's id. That's, being Muslim.
That multilayered general population discourse has, moreover, shifted from 'race' to 'beliefs' is indicative not of actionable (as opposed to pronounced) change but of vitality structure(s) inserted in race relationships discourses in the U. K. Thus, instead of a racialised discourse based on 'BrAsian' intrusion into 'Britishness', same racial group, now 'British isles Muslims', comes out as anti-British. Typical of the manipulative politics discourse a casino game of labelling and re-labelling underprivileged, underrepresented groups (except in prisons) is enacted in a way that power relations as engineered, typically however, not always by, talk about are maintained within and between different ethnicities in a 'multicultural' community which is, Britain. Unsurprisingly, a couple of composite metrics has been developed to be able to 'assess' 'Britishness'. 21 That such metrics combine gauges of loyalties at intra-national (i. e. Britain), national (i. e. Britain, Scotland, etc), or local (e. g. Bradford) levels is, indeed, indicative of the ethnic identity problems, particularly so in case there is BrAsians / BrMuslims. As a consequence, a group diverse as BrAsians / BrMuslims and framed as 'inassimilable' 22 into wider and mainstream community is bundled up altogether, labelled and made alien. Islamophobia is, one argues, an expression of an panic over ethnicity id.
Indeed, Islamophobic sentiments are, upon close examination, aimed not at Islam by itself but at Muslims. 23 In fact, literature repeatedly highlights that people, alternatively than faith, is phobes' trajectory. 23, 24, 25 A broad overview of British isles mass media is indicative of who's supposed and labelled:
If you question whether Islamophobia exists in Britain, I [Gordon Conway, Head of Percentage on British Muslims and Islamophobia] suggest you spend a week reading, as I have done, a range of national and local documents. In the event that you look for articles which refer to Muslims or even to Islam you will see prejudiced and antagonistic feedback, mostly subtle but sometimes blatant and crude. Where in fact the media business lead, many will follow. British Muslims are affected discrimination in their education and at work. Acts of harassment and violence against Muslims are normal. 26
Thus, Islamophobia, a label getting currency in multimedia and academia - because of Runnymede Trust's much publicised report 'Islamophobia, difficult for all of us all' 27 - has bought such a canonical position as to render alternative neologisms 'unrepresentative' of responses to Islam / Muslims. According to Halliday,
'Islamophobia' indulges conformism and expert within Muslim areas. One cannot enough time sense, in regard to work such as the Runnymede Article that the contest relations world has yielded, for reasons of political [emphasis added] convenience, on this term. 28
The use of 'Islamophobia' also issues the opportunity of dialogue based on universal concepts. It implies. . . that the perfect solution is lies in greater dialogue, bridge-building and value for the other community, but this undoubtedly runs the chance of denying the right, or probability, of criticisms of the procedures of these with whom one is getting the dialogue. Not merely those who, on general human rights grounds, subject to elements in Islamic customs and current rhetoric, but also those who test conservative readings from within, can easier be classed as Islamophobes. 29
Thus, Islamophobia is utilized in that politically accurate fashion such concerning silence criticisms, similarly, and to maintain 'good neighbourhood relations', on another. The previous position is framed, in right-leaning perspective, as 'militant', 'jihadist', 'terrorist', 'uncivil', 'anti-modern' and 'anti-Western'. 30 The last mentioned is framed, in 'Islamist' point of view, as 'accommodating', 'assimilative' and 'hegemonic'. Among is advertising, an market for meaning-making and shifting perceptions.
Alternatively, Islamophobia can be employed not as a politically appropriate euphemism in order to silence interior criticisms or even to maintain law and order but, rather, to militate against an 'other'. This could take a form of dismantling politeness courtesies essential not for a politically right dialogue but for one predicated on critical questioning. Still, Islamophobia could be further utilized like a hide for supposedly covered hegemonic agendas. 31
One peculiar move for Islamophobia as contested within a U. K. context is how - instead of 'imported' aliens made 'citizens' being instigators of hate, assault, unrest, and, in the end terror - an 'opponent within' image is created and retained such concerning, apparently, go away Islamophobic sentiments, if any, from one era onto another. 32 For some - now ever more most, credit to press - rivers of actual blood running London streets pursuing London 7/7 ( la 9/11 codification) problems are reminiscent of symbolic blood as invoked by Enoch Powell in his Birmingham talk in 1968:
As I look in advance, I am filled with foreboding. Just like the Roman, I appear to see 'the River Tiber foaming with much blood vessels'. The tragic and intractable sensation [i. e. immigration] which we [emphasis added] watch with horror on the far side of the Atlantic, but which there is interwoven with the annals and lifestyle of the Areas itself, is approaching after us here by our very own volition and our own neglect. 33
Unsurprisingly, Powell's xenophobic pronouncements - just like all xenophobic pronouncements -gain further inertia as an evidently self-fulfilling prophecy comes true. Admittedly, most, if not absolutely all, far-right politics utilize a well-rehearsed repertoire of phobias - not least Islamophobia. In addition, whole political professions are manufactured and enhanced based on safety measures from an 'other': now of color, now of contest, and now of different trust. Across European countries, ballot bins speak quantities of Islamophobia tapped into as a 'final recourse' against an imminent 'green menace' within. 34, 35
Placed in a wider context, Islamophobia is not exclusive to U. K. As a matter of fact, for Europe - in which U. K. can be found and which it is historically affiliated - Islamophobia is a common currency. Indeed, each Western country has a distinctive narrative to tell of Islam / Muslims. Yet, for all those differences, European countries - especially former colonial forces - show common narratives of 'home-grown terrorists' and phobias. 36 Interestingly is still how European nation states follow an identical pattern of status controls over flow of (now particularly Muslim) immigrants as well as control buttons of settings of conducts of minorities within. 37
In simple fact, U. K. 's, and for that matter Europe's, current immigration laws and policies cannot be fully grasped in isolation of European conception of nation-states.
Historically, European nation-states progressed into democratic polities where upholding order and guideline of legislations required consistent regulations. 38 As European countries grew ever more into political, economic and clinical powerhouses, an increasing influx of immigrants required subtler method of control. Typically, in major European countries such as U. K. enacting multiculturalism insurance policies supposed, at least apparently in as far as actual practices are concerned, less room for truly diverse communities plus more for accommodation, assimilation, and full integration of a growing 'alien' existence posing, allegedly, menaces to set up European Enlightenment canonical ideals of reason and secularism. 39 Probably understandably, far-right currents in Western politics manipulated politics equipment - inciting assault and hatred at times - creating, only in voters' intellects, all sorts of phobias.
The circumstance for Islamophobia is one, as a result, that can be understood primarily predicated on power relations set up and retained in a wider power structure of Europe. This is especially significant if you are to grasp 'global' (i. e. Western) battle on Islam, which is not. For many long-established and nourished ability structures desire a signifier, a marker, which, presumably, is made up of, defines, and tags an assumed other only to maintain 'law' and 'order' in an endless historical electricity struggle over hearts and brains.
In finish, Islamophobia is, in the end, a (mis)label slapped onto bottled up electricity relations within a marked power structure. In U. K. framework, Islamophobia can be used, as has been confirmed, not to indicate a move in discursive procedures towards a really multicultural community but to keep up embedded power relationships where specific teams are assigned distinct space within cultural markers. Initially, competition is used to keep power set ups but upon intro of race works and laws and regulations, subtler formers of control and manipulation are employed by which emphasis is move from 'competition' per se to 'faith' much less a creed but as another boundary of control.